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Research Interests

I studied and taught at the universities of Warwick (1997-2002) and Manchester (2002-2007) before joining Lancaster in September 2007. I serve on the steering committee of the Society for the Study of French History and am a core member and formerly research events co-ordinator (2008-2012) for the Dynamics of Memories research group (recently awarded a major AHRC Networking Grant).

I started out as a social and cultural historian of late nineteenth-century France, especially interested in local, regional and national identities, and in Eugen Weber's ideas about the coming-together of the modern nation-state. I then began to develop an interest in France's overseas empire in North Africa which I had encountered in the writings of Albert Camus and Fernand Braudel. These interests came together in my doctorate - a history of the pieds-noirs (European settlers in Algeria) that explored the role of the military, political and  commemorative cultures, literature, education, medicine, food and drink, and the writing of  history in the period 1870-1930. The work of Roland Barthes and Pierre Nora served me well in developing a broad analytical framework for the study of cultural and psychological relationships between metropolitan and colonial worlds. Much of this research has been published in article form (see below).  More recently, I have worked on the relationship of memory to history, colonial cultures in a comparative context, and the intellectual history of decolonisation. In addition to writing up a monograph on colonial Algeria, I am currently beginning new projects on the commemoration of imperial heroes, the colonial origins of  anthropology, and the place of sub-Saharan Africa in Western thought.

Current Research

Mythologies of Empire: The Shape of Culture in European Colonial Algeria (book manuscript, in preparation).

A co-authored special issue on the commemoration of imperial heroes.

Current Teaching

I am on sabbatical leave in the 2012-2013 academic year and will not be teaching. I normally contribute to HIST100, HIST300 and HIST405 and convene the following undergraduate modules:

HIST272 Empire, Race, and the French Colonial World

HIST244 A History of Paris

HIST356 La nouvelle histoire

I hold the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Additional Information

I would like to hear from postgraduate students and potential postgraduates interested in the following areas:

Social, cultural and intellectual histories of modern France and the French overseas empire

Imperialism, colonialism and race

Historiography (especially French) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries


The Dogon as lieu de mémoire

Strachan, J. 11/2013 Lancaster: Lancaster University, p. 1-10 10 p.

Research output: Working paper

From Poverty to Wretchedness: Albert Camus and the Psychology of the Pieds-noirs

Strachan, J. 2013 In: Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History. 14, 2, 4

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


The Colonial Cosmology of Fernand Braudel

Strachan, J. 2011 The French Colonial Mind: Mental Maps of Empire and Colonial Encounters. Thomas, M. (ed.). Lincoln, Neb.: Nebraska University Press, Vol. 1, p. 72-95

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter (peer-reviewed)

Murder in the Desert: Soldiers, Settlers and the Flatters Expedition in the Politics and Historical Memory of European Colonial Algeria, 1830-1881

Strachan, J. 2011 In: French History and Civilization. Papers from the George Rudé Seminar. 4, n/a, p. 210-222 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Between history, memory and mythology: the Algerian education of Albert Camus

Strachan, J. 2011 France's lost empires: fragmentation, nostalgia, and la fracture coloniale. Marsh, K. & Frith, N. (eds.). Lanham, Md.: Lexington, p. 55-67 13 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter (peer-reviewed)


The Colonial Identity of Wine: The Leakey Affair and the Franco-Algerian Order of Things.

Strachan, J. 1/04/2007 In: The Social History of Alcohol and Drugs: An Interdisciplinary Journal. 21, 2, p. 118-137 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


The Pasteurization of Algeria?

Strachan, J. 1/09/2006 In: French History. 20, 3, p. 260-275 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Romance, Religion and the Republic: Bruno's Le Tour de la France par deux enfants.

Strachan, J. 1/03/2004 In: French History. 18, 1, p. 96-118 23 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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